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Subject: Recent good LAN strategy games? rss

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Neil Carr
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In my quest for the ultimate gaming experience I'm turning again to computer games to try and find the answer. Since the computer gaming tables have yet to make it to market I want to see if I can find a good strategy game that can be played via LAN, so that I can invite a bunch of friends over with their laptops, we can set up the LAN at the diner table, and then still have a lot of face-to-face action, but play a game that is more complicated and detailed than your typical boardgame, and have it all done within the evening.

Going into computer game stores like EB and Gamestop, it seems that the market has largely dried up for the turn based type of games, but what I'm wondering is if any web marketed, niche game developers have put out anything recently (ie, last decade) that would work well in this medium?

I'd be looking for something that has:

- low system requirements. Runs well on non-gaming notebooks.
- no clicky real-time strategy stuff. How quickly you click shouldn't be a huge factor in the game.
- can be played and finished in 3-4 hours. It needs to fit into a regular game session.
- not a boardgame port. I'm looking for something that is a bridge between boardgaming and playing, say, Alpha Centauri in multiplayer mode. I want more granularity and chrome than what a reasonable boardgame could provide, but still be built so that multiplayer doesn't have a lot of downtime for the players.

Basically I want to play something like Civilization, Imperialism I or II, Age of Wonders, Heroes of Might and Magic, Alpha Centauri, Masters of Orion, etc. but be built from the ground up as a game that provides a good multiplayer experience. All of those provide one, but the multiplayer experience tends to leave a lot wanting, as it can result in a lot of downtime and/or multiplayer solitaire type of play.
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Thomas Eager
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ninja Company of Heroes rocks! OK, yes, it's defined as "real-time" strategy, but it's vastly different from a harvesting-type game like Starcraft or Age of Empires, since resources are gained solely from areas of the battlefield captured and held. I am totally loving it, and will be buying the expansion just as soon as I finish the campaign missions. The best strategy game outside the Total War series IMO. ninja
 
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Rob Williams
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Yep Company of Heroes gets my vote. Its one RTS that forces you to explore and not turtle in your base.
 
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Thomas Hempel
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Take a look at Battle for Wesnoth. Its a great freeware turnbased strategy game and might be exactly what you`re looking for.
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Jim R
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Doesnt Alpha Centauri or Civ 4 have a simultaneous-turns mode for multiplayer? Never tried it myself, but I would think that it eliminates a lot of the downtime. But those games can get REALLY long.

I tend to think that any computer LAN game is more multiplayer-solitairish than most boardgames, even computer boardgame ports like Colossus (Titan). It's because in a LAN, every player is staring at his own screen and doesnt even have to look at the other players. A boardgame feels much more like a community experience. Although some LAN games that require a lot of cooperation feel more interactive (like the old real-time tactical game Myth, played in coop mode).






 
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Christopher Young
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Alpha Centauri is, indeed, incredible -- but it sounds like you're already aware of that. So, I'll second the vote for Battle for Wesnoth. I've got a pretty nice computer set-up, with a fair number of the newer games -- and every night it's still the 2D, sprite-based Wesnoth that I come back to. It's a great, great multiplayer game.

Free download at www.wesnoth.org.
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Michael B
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I've been having fun with Making History - The Calm and the Storm lately.
 
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John W
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echoota wrote:
Basically I want to play something like Heroes of Might and Magic but be built from the ground up as a game that provides a good multiplayer experience.
You and me both.
Still haven't found anything like what you describe, but it'll be an incredible game if it ever happens.
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Neil Carr
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Alpha Centauri does an ok job with multiplayer. You can do simultaneous moves and even have a turn timer to curb anyone who gets too obsessed with micromanagement. However, beyond the reality that the game is too granular for a robust multiplayer experience, it also has a lag issue with simultaneous turns. I'm not sure what exactly was going on, perhaps there was a kind of real-time element going on, but as a game would progress the lag would get worse and worse as you moved units about. I suppose that the game was keeping track of moves in real time to deal with conflicts, and that would result in the lag. In the end it looks like the game code isn't built for super smooth multiplayer gameplay.

I'm aware that Civ 4 has are more dedicated multiplayer mode, but I need to do more research on that one, as it's still a pricey game, and unfortunately with the way PC games are marketed these days you don't have the discount bins anymore where you can get older games for a song. It's one thing to get one copy of Civ 4, but if I had to pick up four or six copies then I might as well get a current generation console system.

The smoothest multiplayer strategy gaming I encountered was with Masters of Orion II, but unfortunately it was a DOS game, and while you can get emulators for XP, everything I've read makes it sound like it would be a chore to pull off, and then you still have to deal with instability.

I'll check out those suggestions people offered. Wesnoth looks like the homebrew type of program I was hoping would be out there.
 
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Alexander B.
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Company of Heroes is a clicky game... it's great, but not what he wants.

I regularly play Civ 4 multiplayer (we usually team vs. the computer, 2v2v2v2 on Noble, but it is even better in a 2v2 humans). The game is terrific. If you want it to only last 3-4 hours, that can easily be done by choosing a smallish map: change the strategy, but doesn't change the skill level one bit!

I am always on the look-out for these kind of games, and there isn't many of them. There are a TON of solo ones, but very few that actually work well multiplayer. Most multiplayer turn-based games are limited by waiting around for others to resolve battles. Age of Wonders suffers from this but would otherwise be terrific. Heroes of Might and Magic also, last time I played it (fairly recently) has the same problem, as does Disciples.

Civ 4 uses a system where everyone is moving at once (first to click attacks first though!), so while sometimes one player will hold the game up a little bit, it usually flows almost continuously (since you can "click in" to end your move but keep working on tweaking your workers and cities in subtle ways until everyone is done with their move).

P.S. what you really want is probably Galactic Civ that supports multiplayer... too bad it doesn't
 
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Frank Strauss
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ibemichael wrote:
I've been having fun with Making History - The Calm and the Storm lately.

But beware if you buy the german version:


From the publisher:
Consumer Alert:
Strategic War Command is not a sanctioned release of Making History®: The Calm & the Storm. This incomplete and untested German language version of our Making History game was released prematurely to the market without our knowledge or consent.

We at Muzzy Lane Software cannot support this unauthorized version of the Making History game distributed by Rondomedia under the name Strategic War Command.

During the course of creating a localized German language version of our game for Strategy First and their German publishing partner Rondomedia, our engineering team sent Rondomedia a partially completed localized build to review and make corrections to the German translations. This is a common process and there are several of these builds sent back and forth during the development process. Subsequently, Rondomedia took this incomplete and untested build of the game and went into production with it, weeks before we completed the official 2.0.2 gold master! When we discovered that Rondomedia was moving ahead with production we demanded the production cease and were subsequently told that it had been halted. Imagine our surprise when the cover was posted right here in our forum last week by forum member Requiem, who said the game was out in stores in Germany before we had even signed off on our own Gold Master!
We have subsequently determined the version number of the game, confirming for us that it is an unfinished, untested build.

Furthermore, the game was released under the name Strategic War Command in contradiction to our contracts, agreements and our copyright. Sadly, Strategic War Command currently on the shelves in Germany, is incomplete and untested, and the game editor is virtually non-functional. At the time our code was hijacked, there were numerous features half completed and never intended to be released in their current state.

Everyone here at Muzzy Lane is amazed that a game publisher would have done this. We are in the process of considering our options to rectify this problem. In the meantime, we would warn anyone considering purchase of Strategic War Command – “Buyer Beware”.

In an effort to support the German gaming community, Muzzy Lane will work hard to ensure a legitimate authorized German language version of the game is made available as soon as possible.
 
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Jayson Smith
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Civ4 can be played by multiple players off one CD, so if price is the barrier, only one of the players needs to buy the game. I've tried it only once, and it was the first time 3 of us played. We picked the smallest map, 2 computers vs 3 allied players. Unfortunately, I picked default difficult (remember, first time ANY of us had played Civ 4). After 1 hr, my capital had been taken by the CULTURE of a compy. How embarrassing.

Also, no turn timer, so we had a continuous "who hasn't pushed 'done' yet?" problem.

EDIT: by the way, you do need to swap the CD around to each person when they start the game, so this is by no means pirating as they can't play the game without the CD, and I presume this was the intended mode of usage.
 
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Fabio Stange
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I suggest you check out this thread:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1997113#1997113

It's not very non-gaming computer friendly - although it will usually run at low FPS, and this game does not need high FPS escept for eye candy.

It's also only for 2 players, and I'm guessing you wanted more leeway on that. But it might be fun to organize some tournaments.

I guess this is not exactly what you are looking for, but it may get the job done for you. Let me know what you think.


 
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